Overall Strategy on Social Impact Management in Roșia Montană
The international standards on responsible mining require mining companies to assess the social impact of the project based on preliminary studies, and to propose appropriate measures to mitigate the social impact by a series of coherent management plans, in correlation with the project development stages.
Acknowledging the overwhelming responsibility pertaining to a mining company in case its operations affect the community, RMGC has undertaken to observe both the obligations arising from the Romanian legislation, and those derived from internationally recognised responsibility standards.
Basically, these responsibility standards recommend that mining companies make permanent efforts, at all the levels of their operations, so that:
- The negative impact is minimised;
- The positive impact (the benefits) of the project is maximised.
Relocation and Resettlement Strategy
In approaching such a sensitive matter like resettlement, RMGC has undertaken to comply with the Romanian legislation and with the relevant international instruments setting responsibility standards.
According to the World Bank’s experience in projects involving relocation & resettlement operations, companies need to address this process in light of several key principles:
- The affected community shall be informed, consulted on a permanent basis and involved in decision-making;
- Companies shall make efforts to limit involuntary resettlement and its effects;
- The resettlement plan and the compensation system shall be designed as a community development plan, so that the entire change should generate benefits to the community as a whole and to the affected families in particular and become a development opportunity for them;
- In order to mitigate the risks usually associated with relocation and resettlement, the community and the affected families shall be carefully monitored and shall receive specialised support throughout the process.
RMGC’s Relocation and Resettlement Action Plan
These principles are contained in the Relocation and Resettlement Action Plan developed by RMGC, thus becoming obligations assumed by RMGC:
- The proposed area for project development accounts for around 25% of the territory of the Roşia Montană commune; the remaining 75% of the commune’s territory – 12 villages, the new resettlement site and the Protected Area – is available for non-mining economic activities being integrated within the sustainable development plans;
- The area proposed initially as an industrial area was reduced in order to lower the impact of the relocation and resettlement process, while the protected areas have been expanded;
- The Company initiated early consultations with the community and social impact assessment studies, and proposed a plan of measures to mitigate the social impact of relocation and resettlement; RMGC uses several instruments in order to maintain permanent dialogue with the community – it has set up Community Relations Offices, publishes a newsletter, organises public consultations to inform the community and clarify issues, find solutions and make decisions together with the community;
- The Relocation and Resettlement Action Plan is based on a strategy mainly oriented towards making resettlement a voluntary process;
- The resettlement process was approached and proposed to the community as a community development project;
- The community is assisted throughout this process by the Permanent Monitoring and Support Programme for Relocation and Resettlement.
Assistance and Monitoring of Families Throughout the Relocation/Resettlement Process
As the adaptation of a new family or community in a new location is a process which requires time and depends on several factors, international studies and experience with relocation/resettlement have led to the conclusion that the compensation of properties alone is not enough to ensure the success of the process. In addition, there is a need to monitor and assist the families, depending on the difficulties they may be confronted with.
Based on these recommendations, RMGC established a specialised Programme for Relocation and Resettlement Support within the Community Relations Department.
Restoration of Livelihood in the New Location
In order to ensure the restoration of livelihood in the new locations, RMGC:
- Has developed a compensation system based on replacement values in order to comply with the replacement value principles. The compensation values are revised periodically in line with the real estate market dynamics;
- Has undertaken, in the sale-purchase contract, to provide one job for at least one family member in the project construction phase;
- Provides legal assistance in obtaining property deeds and pays all related taxes, in order to ensure the access to compensation only to the families and households from the area affected by the mining project ;
- Provides legal and real estate assistance in the acquisition of agricultural lands to those families who want to practice agriculture and animal husbandry in the new location. The Company also pays the difference between the cost of one square meter of agricultural land in the new location and the price per square metre offered by RMGC for the land with the same destination upon acquisition of the property under the project footprint;
- Has created a special fund to support the professional training and reconversion of the persons in search of a job in the new locations;
- Provides job search assistance in the new locations;
- Provides counselling on saving instruments, investments, banking operations, and start-up and development of small enterprises.
Strategy for Encouraging Resettlement
RMGC’s Action Plan contains a strategy to reorient the community’s options towards resettlement, offering tangible benefits and opportunities for the community to preserve their intangible assets: subsidisation by the Company of 25% of the house construction price in the new resettlement site in Roşia Montană; subsidisation of the house land by 50% both in the new resettlement site in Roşia Montană and in Alba Iulia Recea. By resettlement, the community has the opportunity to preserve social and mutual trust and support networks, relations, cultural and social identity, customs and traditions, all of which are priceless values that cannot be compensated for. RMGC has made efforts in order to document and encourage the preservation of customs and traditions through a partnership with the local community, as well as with the local and county authorities.